« No on Brandenburg (Updated) | Main | Lawyering and Responsibility »

Friday, January 08, 2021

July ('74): District of Columbia

Reports are that Nancy Pelosi spoke with Joint Chiefs Chair Mark Milley about "precautions" against Trump starting a war. We are in July 1974 territory when military and DOD officials were informally telling one another to ignore potentially crazy orders from President Nixon, who was drinking heavily, sensing that the end was near, and a threat to lash out. Of course, Nixon was an intelligent person with some baseline respect for the constitutional order (yes, he committed crimes--there are obvious degrees).

We are not so fortunate at the moment.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 8, 2021 at 12:49 PM in Constitutional thoughts, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics | Permalink

Comments

July 1974*

Posted by: thegreatdisappointment | Jan 8, 2021 2:49:05 PM

I love it when law profs use history. They are not very good at it.

A write-up on what actually went down in Oct. 1974:

"The Pentagon official stressed today that the concern of Mr. Schlesinger was hypothetical and did not evolve from any event. At no time, the official said, was there any sign that the White House or any military commander was contemplating any action outside the chains of command.

Mr. Schlesinger reportedly became concerned that if there was an impeachment debate and then a Senate trial, which seemed likely after the House Judiciary Committee voted artides of impeachment, the country could “have difficult times.”

There was concern not only that somebody at the White House might order some unit to act against Congress, but also that some official might seek to have some unit oust the President, according to the official.

Moreover, Mr. Schlesinger, in his conversations with Secretary of State Kissinger, was also concerned about a national crisis arising while the President's future hung in the balance, the Pentagon official said.

Both Mr. Schlesinger and Mr. Kissinger remembered the general skepticism when American forces were placed on a heightened alert last October when it seemed as if the Soviet Union was contemplating sending forces into the Middle East.

Allegation Denied

The alert, on Oct. 24–25, came only a few days after the so‐called “Saturday night massacre” when Mr. Nixon dismissed the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, precipitating the resignation of Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and the ouster of his deputy, William D. Ruckelhaus.

When Mr. Kissinger had news conference on Oct. 25, he was asked repeatedly if the alert was linked to some desire to distract public, attention from the domestic crisis. He denied such an allegation, stressing then and later that the alert was legitimate.

But the Pentagon official said that the public skepticism shown during the alert worried Mr. Kisinger and Mr. Schlesinger, and that they were determined to insure that if a crisis developed, they would be in a position to justify any military moves."

https://www.nytimes.com/1974/08/25/archives/pentagon-kept-tight-reinin-last-days-of-nixon-rule-no-event.html

Posted by: thegreatdisappointment | Jan 8, 2021 2:48:26 PM

Strange to see the left reacting to Jan. 6 the same way the slaveholding south reacted to John Brown's raid.

Posted by: thegreatdisappointment | Jan 8, 2021 2:36:47 PM

Post a comment